Criminal Justice

Getting to the bottom of prison reform

by Michelle Chen on April 2 2009, 9:40PM

Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia) has a crazy idea: reform the system that has locked up more than two million people, devastated communities, and undermined public safety. His bill, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009, is far from…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Oakland’s Young People Respond [VIDEO]

by Guest Columnist on April 2 2009, 10:58AM

by Nick James, Charles McDonald This past November Oakland voters approved a measure that would increase funding to after school programs and services, overwhelmingly supporting youth of color. Unfortunately, after the election some members of the council passed a…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Schools & Youth

Another kind of toxic debt

by Michelle Chen on March 23 2009, 8:54PM

Unprecedented outrage over the Wall Street bailout has stoked accusations of criminality, both real and figurative, and calls for retributive justice. Incidentally, amid rising populist anger at white-collar depravity, some more conventional targets for public disdain are looking for…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Finding the Words for This Tragedy

by Julianne Hing on March 23 2009, 4:33PM

An officer guards the building where Lovelle Mixon and two Oakland police officers were shot and killed. photo credit: Getty Images All day I’ve been sifting through the news reports from the tragic fatal shootings of Lovelle Mixon and…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Calling it like they see it

by Michelle Chen on March 19 2009, 10:15PM

Often seen as a cloistered outpost of New York City, Long Island is now becoming known for the blight of racial violence. Last November, the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant, sparked public outcry over hate crimes on…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Kids on the inside

by Michelle Chen on March 17 2009, 7:15AM

The beating death of a young prisoner at New York’s infamous Rikers Island jail was not an isolated incident; new evidence has emerged that even the facility’s staff was complicit in enforcing a system of brutality. According to local…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Reproductive health in lockdown

by Michelle Chen on March 12 2009, 6:08PM

For many women behind bars, barriers to reproductive health follow them from their communities to their prison cells. A study published in the current issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health found that an incarcerated woman’s ability to…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Health

New York’s uphill climb to drop the rock

by Michelle Chen on March 6 2009, 3:55PM

All eyes are on New York as it moves toward reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The mandatory-sentencing statutes have reshaped the prison population since the 1970s by drawing in thousands of people of color and low-level and nonviolent offenders….

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Targeting Another Generation of Black Men

by Ali Winston on March 2 2009, 12:00PM

Despite lawsuits, review boards and more, Oakland fails to reform its police department.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Juvenile justice report

by Michelle Chen on February 12 2009, 1:56PM

Some interesting recent twists at the intersection of youth and the prison system. A dozen young people in the custody of Massachusetts Department of Youth Services could soon be liberated, thanks to a Supreme Judicial Court decision striking down a…

Topics: Criminal Justice

What stimulus could mean if it included the formerly incarcerated

by on February 11 2009, 12:14PM

Fourteen months ago, Vincent, a slim 46-year-old Black man with a youngish face and a pressed plaid shirt, worked as a maintenance technician in Detroit. He’d been with the company for almost three months, but five days before he…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Targeted neighborhoods, pt. 2: NYPD stop and frisk

by Michelle Chen on January 16 2009, 5:23PM

A new, disturbingly timely report by the Center for Constitutional Rights documents glaring racial disparities in the stops and searches carried out by New York City police. The analysis is hardly surprising, but the data does provide statistical muscle to…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

The Bronx Defenders

by Momo Chang on January 6 2009, 12:00PM

Changing the criminal justice system

Topics: Criminal Justice

Bobby Jindal is No Reformer

by Guest Columnist on December 17 2008, 10:39AM

Editor’s note: As Bobby Jindal tries to create a national image, to possibly run for president in 2012, the Louisiana justice system remains in shambles when it comes to serving Black people and protecting our basic rights. Denouncing the…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Prop 69: Tough on Crime on the Backs of Women and People of Color

by Guest Columnist on December 5 2008, 7:50AM

Prop 69: Tough on Crime on the Backs of Women and People of Color Truc Thanh Nguyen, Generations Ahead In January 2009 California will begin the inclusion of felony arrestees into the state DNA database. The inclusion of those simply…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire

by Dom Apollon on November 1 2008, 12:00PM

A law professor tracks policies that fail prisoners and their families.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Two Words That Can Get You Life in Prison

by Raj Jayadev on November 1 2008, 12:00PM

Prosecutors are labeling more people as gang members. Congress considers if it should take similar measures.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Troy Davis Granted Third Stay of Execution

by Jonathan Adams on October 27 2008, 10:50AM

Troy Davis, 40, was scheduled to die Monday at 7 pm (2300 GMT) by lethal injection for the 1989 killing of 27-year-old white policeman Mark Allan MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. He has repeatedly claimed he did not kill McPhail…

Topics: Criminal Justice


by Tammy Johnson on October 27 2008, 10:32AM

AP Photo/Matt Slocum Jacquline McClelland poses with a photo of her son Brandon McClelland, Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, in Paris, Texas. Brandon, a black man, was on a late-night beer run across state lines to Oklahoma with two white…

Topics: Criminal Justice

UPDATE: Troy Davis Granted Stay of Execution

by Jonathan Adams on September 23 2008, 5:07PM

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection. Davis’ family and supporters, who for years have pressed for…

Topics: Criminal Justice